Meatballs in rich tomato sauce

Meatballs cooked in rich tomato sauce

Course Dinner, Italian, Meatballs
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Alida Ryder


for the meatballs

  • 500 g beef mince
  • 1 small red onion peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 large handfuls fresh herbs of your choice I used Italian parsley, basil, thyme and oregano
  • 2 slices white bread crusts removed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup approximately 50g pecorino, finely grated
  • salt & pepper to serve

for the tomato sauce

  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 500 g ripe tomatoes chopped (alternatively use a can of chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 cup passata tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 teaspoon sugar optional
  • salt & pepper to taste

to serve

  • bucatini or pasta of your choice, cooked
  • grated Pecorino/Parmesan
  • fresh basil leaves


  • To make the meatballs, place the beef in a bowl.
  • In a small food processor (or by hand), finely chop the herbs, onion and garlic.
  • Add the herb mixture to the beef.
  • In a small bowl, soak the bread in just enough milk to completely saturate the bread.
  • Add the soaked bread to the beef and onion mixture then add the cheese and season to taste.
  • Mix well and form golf-ball sized meatballs.
  • In a large frying pan, fry the meatballs in a splash of oil until browned all over. Set aside.
  • To make the sauce, fry the onion in a splash of oil in a saucepan until soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and allow to come up to a simmer.
  • Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes uncovered.
  • Place the meatballs in the tomato sauce and allow to simmer gently for another 10-15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked to your liking.
  • Serve with cooked pasta garnished with a good grating of Pecorino and a few fresh basil leaves.